The 2013 BioArt Winners

Scroll below for the winners of the 2015 BioArt Contest. For better viewing, click the images below to enlarge them.

Bo Wang1 and Phillip A. Newmark1,2*

1University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
2Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Schistosomes are parasitic flatworms that infect hundreds of millions of people in developing countries. Before infecting humans, the parasites develop inside a snail intermediate host, enabling them to produce thousands of infectious offspring from a single egg. This image shows a tissue section of a developing Schistosoma mansoni larva (center) living inside the muscular tentacle of its snail host (periphery). The colors indicate different depths within the tissue. This research was supported by the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

*Society for Developmental Biology

Vincent A. Fischetti

Rockefeller University, New York City, NY

Group A streptococci (Strep A) are responsible for pharyngitis and strep throat.  In this scanning electron micrograph, Strep A bacteria can be seen attaching to the surface of laboratory-grown human pharyngeal cells.  Funding from the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases supports this research program aimed at identifying the first steps of infection and determining which step could potentially be blocked to prevent disease.

Rosalind Silverman and Michelle Bendeck*

University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Migration and proliferation of smooth muscle cells can contribute to the thickening of arteries and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, which causes heart disease. Unlike other smooth muscle cells, the structural protein actin (red) in these invading cells forms a unique, polygonal net around one side of the nucleus (blue).  This actin net is thought to protect the smooth muscle cells during migration.

*American Society for Investigative Pathology 

Douglas B. Cowan1,2 *† and James D. McCully1,3 *‡

1Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
2Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA
3Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

This micrograph shows laboratory-grown heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) from a rat injected with fluorescently-labeled mitochondria (red) isolated from the liver of another animal. Fluorescent labeling was also used to visualize the muscle cells’ cytoskeleton (green) and nuclei (blue). The researchers found that injection of mitochondria from an unmatched donor in the heart decreases the amount of damage in a model of myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. This project aims to provide a clinically-relevant treatment for humans and is supported by the NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

*American Physiological Society
†Biomedical Engineering Society
‡American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

John D. Olson, Paul W. Czoty,* Michelle Bell

Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC

Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is an advanced form of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) capable of mapping the direction of water motion in tissues. Fiber tracking is a specific method of assembling DTI data to study the three-dimensional architecture of the brain. This DTI fiber tracking image shows the brain of a living female cynomolgus monkey, collected as part of a study designed to determine whether cocaine use causes long-term changes to the brain’s structure and connectivity. Color indicates the direction that the axons (the brain cells’ long “arms”) are travelling: red is left to right, green is front to back, and blue is top to bottom. This work is supported by the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse

*American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Matthew Ware and Biana Godin (Vilentchouk)*

Houston Methodist Research Institute, Houston, TX

In this scanning electron micrograph, several one-micron-sized, non-toxic silica beads (yellow) are seen on the surface of a human fibroblast cell, which produce the structural materials found outside of cells in the body, such as collagen. However, aberrant activation of fibroblasts is found in various pathological states; for example, they can support the growth and spread of a tumor. Understanding transport mechanisms of drugs and particles on the single cell scale is very important to support the development of non-toxic therapeutics that have increased efficacy and reduced side effects. This image is particularly exciting because it captures the transport processes involved in the internalization of particles by a fibroblast cell line. NIH support from the National Cancer Institute allows these researchers to continue developing targeted drug-delivery systems utilizing nanocarriers.


*Biomedical Engineering Society

Saleem Nicola1*, Vincent B. McGinty2, James J. Kim1, and Sylvie Lardeux1

1Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
2Stanford University, Stanford, CA

The mammalian brain utilizes several different mechanisms to determine how to reach a target location, ranging from highly complex spatial navigation to very simple habit-based automatic responses. This image illustrates an intermediate form of navigation called "flexible approach". Each line shows a rat’s movement path towards a target. The colors indicate the rat’s head orientation (blue = the head is facing the target). The diverse paths to the target (top center) arise because the animal initiated its approach from varied starting locations. This research project is supported by the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse and National Institute of Mental Health.

*American Physiological Society

Katherine O’Shaughnessy1 and Martin J. Cohn1,2*

1University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
2Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Cartilaginous fishes such as sharks, skates, and rays are the most primitive jawed vertebrates and are important species for the study of evolutionary developmental biology. This image depicts an embryonic Little Skate, Leucoraja erinacea, sitting atop its yolk sac. The external gills appear as red strands extending from the underside of the embryo. Remarkably, these animals can continue developing outside of their egg case, allowing researchers to observe embryonic organ formation. This skate embryo is part of a research project investigating sexually dimorphic fin development and the origin of internal fertilization. Research in Cohn’s laboratory is funded by the NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney as well as the National Science Foundation.

* Society for Developmental Biology

William Lewis*†

Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

Amyloidosis of the heart is a set of complex diseases caused by the accumulation of cellular proteins that form an amyloid plaque. Although amyloidosis was described more than 100 years ago, the causative proteins were not identified until recent chemical analyses were conducted. This image shows an amyloid plaque stained with Congo red stain and viewed through a polarized lens. The optical properties of the amyloid-forming protein cause it to appear green, while other matrix materials within the plaque appear as orange and blue. Lewis’s current research is supported by the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse.

* American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
† American Society for Investigative Pathology 

Bryan William Jones and Robert E. Marc

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

This image shows a region of retina from a goldfish (Carassius auratus auratus) analyzed using tools called Computational Molecular Phenotyping (CMP) that reveal the metabolic state of the all cell types in tissues. These cells were labeled for the presence of two fundamental amino acid metabolites (glycine in red, GABA in blue) and an amino acid tracer of physiologic activity (AGB in green).  The NIH National Eye Institute provides support for this research project that seeks to map retinal networks from both normal and diseased tissues like retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. 

Xueting Luo and Kevin Park

University of Miami, Miami, FL

The nerve cell type retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) integrate visual and non-visual information from the eyes and send these signals into the brain through their long “arms,” or axons. This three-dimensional fluorescence imaging video shows RGC axons connecting one eye to other key areas of the brain in a mouse. Glaucoma causes the degeneration of the RGC axons, RGC death, and irreversible vision loss. Therefore, intensive research has focused on identifying strategies to promote RGC survival, axon regeneration, and reestablish connections between RGCs and other brain cells. This work is supported by the NIH National Eye Institute and the US Army. 

Amanda L. Zacharias*† and John I. Murray*

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA

This time-lapse video shows the development of a microscopic worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) embryo from the one cell stage to hatching. The nuclei are tagged with a green fluorescent marker and an important genetic regulation molecule involved in later embryonic development appears in red.  The worm C. elegans develops with an invariant lineage, which means the cells divide in the same order and position in every embryo. This unique property enabled the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of programmed cell death. Researchers also utilize the invariant lineage to compare the expression of critical developmental genes, many of which are conserved between humans and nematodes, in normal and mutant C. elegans embryos. Zacharias and Murray’s research is supported by the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

* Genetics Society of America
† Society for Developmental Biology